Innovations in orthopedic surgery: hip arthroscopy

With any surgery, patients hope for a speedy recovery. And with arthroscopies, it’s possible. Arthroscopic surgery, or arthroscopy, is a minimally invasive procedure in which small incisions are made so that a tiny surgical camera, or arthroscope, can be inserted to examine the joint. One or two additional small cuts can be made to allow for medical instruments to perform surgery inside the joint.

Hip arthroscopies have been performed for years but have not been as common as arthroscopies of the knee and shoulder. Simply put, this is because the hip is a complicated joint.

Because “hip” can refer to any portion of the groin, upper thighs, posterior pelvis, or actual hip joint, it’s important for the physician to pinpoint the source when a patient complains of hip pain. To narrow down the problem, doctors perform a series of tests. They may begin with an assessment of the patient’s gait, as well as range of motion. A pain impingement test may also be performed to determine the point at which the patient is experiencing the pain.

Compared to open surgery alternatives, an arthroscopy requires a reduced recovery time, allows a lower level of blood loss, and lessens scarring and the risk of complications. A patient can expect to be on crutches for a little while to allow ample healing. Athletes are happy to be able to repair, recover, and get back into the game. “It’s most important for me to safely get people back to doing what they love,” said Dr. Cincere.

Though increasingly popular, hip arthroscopies are not for everyone. According to Dr. Cincere, hip arthroscopies are best suited to non-arthritic, active individuals, between the ages of 14–50 — making this an optimal surgery for athletes. Arthroscopy is most commonly used to repair:

  • Labral tears
  • Loose/foreign body removal
  • Hip biopsy
  • Cartilage lesions
  • Ligament injuries

At a rate of more than 70 procedures per year, Dr. Brandon Cincere of UT Erlanger Orthopedics is currently the only doctor in our region performing hip arthroscopies. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Cincere, please call 423-778-2564.